Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Clean Water Act and Pollutant Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

Description: This report discusses the total maximum daily load (TMDL) program which regulates pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained; section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. The report focuses on new challenges facing the TMDL program, including more complex TMDLs, larger scale impairments, and nonpoint sources.
Date: January 17, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: March 27, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: April 21, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Description: This report provides background on the conflict over interpretation and implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA). A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest.
Date: March 19, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Description: This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues.3 The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, though a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed along with issues that may arise in the years after the leak from the deepwater well is capped.
Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: November 21, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options

Description: This report provides analysis of various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts.
Date: July 15, 2010
Creator: Sherlock, Molly F.; Lunder, Erika K.; Liu, Edward C. & Klein, Heather S.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress

Description: This report summarizes provisions of selected legislation - enacted and proposed - that address oil spill policy issues raised after the April 20, 2010, explosion and resulting oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. This report focuses primarily on oil spill policy matters that concern prevention, preparedness, response, and the liability and compensation framework.
Date: July 30, 2010
Creator: Hagerty, Curry L. & Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Description: This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: September 10, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, which presents several options, and could provide a number of programs, to address the Gulf Coast oil spill. The Stafford Act authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event.
Date: May 13, 2010
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: March 20, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Liability and Compensation Issues Raised by the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

Description: The first section of this report provides an overview of the existing liability and compensation framework as it relates to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The second section highlights many of the liability and compensation issues raised by the event. The third section discusses options for policymakers to adjust, amend, or supplement the current framework.
Date: March 11, 2011
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Phosphorus Mitigation in the Everglades

Description: This report discusses the FY2004 appropriations provisions that condition federal funding for Everglades restoration on compliance with water quality standards, provides a side-by-side analysis of pending appropriations legislation, and provides background and a timeline of efforts to address Everglades phosphorus pollution (from Summary).
Date: January 13, 2004
Creator: Sheikh, Pervaze A. & Johnson, Barbara
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Description: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that an applicant for a federal license or permit provide a certification that any discharges from the facility will comply with the Act, including water quality standard requirements. Disputes have arisen over the states' exercise of authority under Section 401. Until recently, much of the debate over the Section 401 certification issue has been between states and hydropower interests. A 1994 Supreme Court decision which upheld the states' authority in this area dismayed development and hydroelectric power interest groups. The Court revisited these issues in a 2006 ruling that unanimously upheld the states' authority to condition hydropower licenses. The dispute between states and industry groups about Section 401 authority has been a legislative issue on several occasions, but Congress has not responded by modifying the provision's scope. In addition, there has been interest in clarifying whether Section 401 certification applies to nonpoint source discharges, such as rainfall runoff, as well as point source discharges from pipes or ditches.
Date: October 5, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

Description: This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule: the Congressional Review Act, appropriations bill limitations, targeted legislation, and broad amendments to the Clean Water Act. Each option faces a steep path to enactment.
Date: May 26, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options

Description: This report will briefly discuss existing disaster-related tax provisions and their application to the recent Depewater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The report then provides an analysis of the tax treatment of the BP payments to the individuals and businesses impacted by the oil spill as well as various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts.
Date: October 14, 2010
Creator: Sherlock, Molly F.; Lunder, Erika K. & Liu, Edward C.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Description: This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ocean Acidification

Description: Report that discusses the increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and the extent of related effects on the ocean and marine resources.
Date: July 30, 2013
Creator: Upton, Harold F. & Folger, Peter
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ocean Acidification

Description: With increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the extent of effects on the ocean and marine resources is an increasing concern. One aspect of this issue is the ongoing process whereby seawater becomes acidified (i.e., ocean acidification) as more CO2 dissolves in it, causing hydrogen ion concentration in seawater to increase. While not yet fully understood, the ecological and economic consequences of ocean acidification could be substantial. Congress is beginning to focus attention on better understanding ocean acidification and determining how this concern might be addressed.
Date: July 2, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H. & Folger, Peter
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Description: This report provides background on the conflict over interpretation and implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act. A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest. EPA's efforts to clarify its policy in this area and the November 2006 rule and the 2009 federal court ruling are discussed, as well as possible options for EPA and Congress to further address the FIFRA-CWA issues. In June, EPA proposed a draft general CWA permit that it intends to finalize by April 2011 in response to the court ruling.
Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Gold King Mine Spill May Renew Interest in "Good Samaritan" Legislation

Description: This report discusses legislation related to an accidental spill from the Gold King Mine, a long-abandoned gold mine site in Colorado, which released acid mine drainage (AMD) wastewater into a tributary of the Animas River and downstream to the San Juan River. The proposed legislation would authorize Good Samaritan remediation, in which third parties who have no history of polluting at a particular site or legal responsibility for its pollution step forward to clean up AMD or other historic mine residue of pollution.
Date: August 27, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department